“…in a healthy place.”

“…in a healthy place.”
by Ox

NOTE: This is an archived site. EVERYTHING here is very dated. Articles — all — are written now and then for highly select readers, for particular purposes. Not knowing proper context can be puzzling or misleading, even off-putting. So… please not read anything here which has not been recommended to you. What’s below is UNEDITED

Yes, I care very much about the horror associated with methyl iodide and all of its first cousins. I also know that petitions directed at dealing with the abomination… directed at career politicians are not the way to use one’s energy — primarily (certainly not exclusively!) — if one wants to change the status quo. For the scorecard’s been in for a long, long time on the horrific effects, and if anyone in the Sacred Seat in Sacramento had their heart, head and soul in a healthy place, well… citizens wouldn’t have to be spending their precious heartbeats collecting signatures and money to do — for want of a better expression – the right thing.

I’m talking this way because I’m imagining that the people I want to reach first — in the month of November, 2011 — will pay attention to something on the methyl iodide issue. However, my agenda goes way beyond the plight of the farm workers in my state. It has to do with creating a watershed in history for one and all. Regarding many issues, some of which have nothing or little to do with what’s called physical health.

How can I address this?

“A local woman who has leukemia told me she heard the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer wanders across the country and its path is visible aboveground in a long lazy river of mutated creatures: legless frogs and sexless trout, blind muskrat, pinkeyed birds. She kept calling it the ‘aquifilter.’ It’s a beautiful fiction, all the links in the chain of being united by a snake of water, like her name for it is a beautiful fiction. My mother calls it the Kennedy aquifer, a Camelot underground.”

That’s an excerpt from Susanne Antonetta’s (2001) Body Toxic: An Environmental Memoir.

Now, if you will, jump to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_Barrens_%28New_Jersey%29#Status, where — two paragraphs down from the top — you’ll find blah blah on the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer which is totally at odds with the description above. What they describe as “some of the purest water in the United States” is — without question — among the most toxic of all aquifers in the world. For the damage which was done to the aquifer — definitively documented in Susanne’s book — never dissipated, could not possibly do so… ever… for all practical purposes. [Sad but true.]

But speaking of what’s practical, this all — for me, and I hope you — begs the question of why it’s so difficult for common citizens to get a handle on the quality of air they breathe and the water they drink, and other matters which one could consider first cousins to those elements. Why do we have to rely on careerists who are no more going to share the truth if it means such will affect their income, status, etc. than the town fathers were willing to initially let bathers know that there was a huge shark in the water in Jaws.

Government agencies too — in case (like most citizens) you don’t know — cannot be relied on for the basics, to inform us. What they do make available is a pittance, and that is often pitifully inadequate, inaccessible for many and/or simply ignorant of… the facts.

The good news is that there’s something that could be done about all of this, and accomplished virtually overnight.

A governor of California with heart, head and soul in a healthy place could unilaterally — in very short order — transform the health of Californians without it costing the state a single cent. AND he/she could help the public to self-educate expeditiously so that they could teach themselves what they have to know in order to address other issues of monumental importance.

But the kind of governor I’m talking about cannot be a careerist… which is all we’re currently offered — all we’ve ever been offered — by the mainstream parties and the permanently marginalized third parties. Even Upton Sinclair, with his very decent efforts surrounding the EPIC campaign, wouldn’t have cut the mustard if he had secured the Sacred Seat in Sacramento. No, for his good attitude was tainted by the notion that he would have had to compromise here and there, along the way, with gangster politicians and their first cousins.

When I say that a governor with heart, head and soul in a healthy place can move unilaterally for the common good, I mean unilaterally, no legislation necessary, no compromise involved.

I’ve touched upon the why and what above, not the how. For that I require an invitation for the purposes of an exchange between us in confidence. For nothing these days is allowed to breathe if it is announced with a public megaphone before it has core support from dedicated souls. Smart souls who really see why Wikipedia can make the public claim it does about the Pine Barrens’ water whilst the toxic waste which is the fact of life there is ignored as much as the farm workers and their exposure to methyl iodide.

I grew up in New Jersey, and so I know the area Susanne describes very well. Yet I was shocked to learn that out of 1100 National Priority spots on our Superfund list, almost a full tenth of them are located in a relatively small section of my birth state, New Jersey boasting 110 total.

The thing is, that shock was mild when placed next to what I felt when I discovered that there are a lot of spots which are not on the list at all because of ongoing investigations which never seem to end, an incessant, unconscionable putting off of labeling. For self-serving reasons which are at odds with public health concerns.

And the larger shock was severely overshadowed by the fact that during my first ten years as a professor at Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey, Montclair State Teachers College, Seton Hall University, Patterson State Teachers College and Newark State Teachers College, among other educational institutions (1964-1974), I cruised through life (with my students and well-respected colleagues at very prestigious centers) not knowing ZIPPO about the unconscionable contamination throughout Newark, Elizabeth or the environs of Toms River… where many of us frequented now and then. Education, right. [Pause.] No. In my vision there’s a governor who has her/his own media outlet, where citizens can get down with the lowdown… unedited. Where people can be walked through… what to do… that’ll make a difference.

There’s an old joke about why New York got all the lawyers and New Jersey got so much toxic waste. The answer is that New Jersey got to pick first. Well, I’ve got my serious reservations about lawyers, but I can wait to address them. None of us can wait to address what’s above… and what’s below.

Too little is in a healthy place.

Contact the author at aptosnews@gmail.com, why don’t you?

P.S. I think it’s noteworthy to point out that it wasn’t until I was serving as a facilitator for various workshops in Italy for years that I discovered that the Camora, a gangster organization along the lines of the Mafia, based in Naples had secured all the national government contracts for disposing of hazardous waste. And that they were dumping toxic materials throughout the Italian countryside, permanently destroying huge tracts of land that continued to be frequented by tourists… with the encouragement of unknowing, well-meaning travel agents. I mean, few Italian citizens knew what was going on in their backyard, and most still don’t. Why? Because people in positions of power and people with other vested interests make sure that whoever is responsible for spreading the ‘responsible’ word doesn’t do their job.